This is the big one! And therefore, this post is broken into two. Here are my basic tips, kind of preliminary pep-talk post of how to take your own outfit photos. Which, by the way, is even harder when you have to direct your husband on how to use your Android's camera because he didn't charge his iPhone WHILE taking your outfit photos! Let's get into this!
Invest in a Tripod and Remote
Your boyfriend/best friend/parent are all invaluable, I know, I know. But trust me when I say a tripod and remote is the best 20-70 dollars you will ever spend in terms of blogging expenses. Being able to control your own image and set things up yourself will help you more than anything else. There is a lot to be said for friends and family who can take a good shot, but when you want to go to the cute park down the road and they can't come, it's going to get harder and more disappointing. And, if your significant other is anything like mine, they don't always want to be taking the 30 minutes out of the day to take the photos, especially in the dead of winter.
And my suggestion? This off brand remote is better than the Canon remote (I own both because I lost remote then found it, tehe). And this tripod is awesomeness. Quick plate release is necessary - trust me! This just means you attach a plate to the bottom of your camera. I leave mine on all the time (see in the photo below weird leg like things sticking out from the bottom) and I can easily attach it! It works for our video camera and point and shoot as well.
(If you must enlist your boyfriend/family/friends) Use Your Words
This is Jason's advice. You can't really expect people holding the camera to know what you want unless you tell them. Try sketching out ideas of what you want beforehand or having a few saved images of inspiration on your cell phone or something to show. Describe what you want (aka just my feet, taken horizontally) and be clear. Don't put the blame on the other person if they don't turn out - they are being really nice to you, and even if they aren't great, smile and take it as a learning experience. And then go buy yourself a tripod :D
Know Your Lens
One of the hard things is figuring out when you are in and out of frame. I suggest using a prime lens (like a 50mm that stays at one distance - Canon user? Try the 50mm f/1.4 Nikon user? Try the 35mm f/1.8 - I use this one at work at love it) or setting your kit lens to around 35mm. This way you can figure out how far away you need to be to be in frame. This is a learning process. When taking photos, walk back and check to see if you are in frame. Mark your spot with a leaf or drawing something in the dirt or noticing a certain crack in the sidewalk you are standing on. If you are in frame, stay there. If not, try, try, try, again.
Don't expect to start getting the best photos ever at first. Start by taking photos somewhere you are comfortable with - your porch, a well lit area in your home, or your driveway. As time goes on, try and branch out a bit more - a cute wall down the road, a brick wall nearby, or something else in your neighborhood. Eventually, enough of doing it in a place familiar to you will build your confidence. It also helps to make you feel comfortable with the idea of a tripod, camera, and yourself so that when you put yourself out in public with it, it's not like you are doing it for the first time. This photo above was my go to field for awhile - directly to my right is some office building. Ha!
If you know you will be doing an outfit photo shoot, set aside time in the day. Maybe you'll take them right after work or on a weekend? Know what you plan to take and where you plan to take them. Doing them on a whim can make you feel frustrated and rushed, and ultimately, result in less than stellar photos. Also, be sure to bring along any props or other things you may want to photograph!
Don't Expect Perfection
I'm pulling images from myself and some of my favorite bloggers out there. Please, go to your favorite blog, and look at their first images. It's very rare that they start off the bat amazing, and chances are if they did, they had prior experience (another blog or something) or their boyfriend is a professional photographer. Above are images from when The Clothes Horse, Delightfully Tacky, Skunkboy Blog, and myself all started. Remember that everyone starts somewhere and grows - it's what is great about humans! So don't get frustrated - just learn and grow! (PS. I'm only including myself because this is my blog and I feel awkward if I don't show you my on the porch point and shoot photos. I'm not at the awesomeness level of these girls or suggesting I am :D )
I will say this again and again and again. Breathe and just do it. It's really not that big of a deal in the scheme of things, and you will be so much happier when you get photos you like. Starting slow and in more private areas will get you used to posing for the camera, dealing with your remote when it's being finicky, and figuring out how to take the shots. When you venture out, there might be people. They will not be predictable. Some may want to talk to you - ask you about photography, for money, to take their workout videos, who knows (all of those have happened to me). You can tell them what you are doing, make something up, or do whatever. They probably won't remember. I carry my card with me just in case - it helps make it less awkward. I've only handed it to one guy who literally knocked on my car window. Some will just stare, intently, and not even look away when you stare back. By the way, I often just stare back. Didn't people learn staring is rude? Nope. They didn't. And some will just walk past, politely staying out of your way. In the end, they won't really remember you. You aren't affecting them. Just smile, and be brave.
This is the preliminary post. I think this has to be broken down a bit for readability. The next one will go into a bit more detail about taking the photos, figuring out 'your' poses, and more.